When it comes to insuring your North Carolina farm or business you have to make several choices: your coverage, your service requirements and perhaps most importantly, your agent.
I love my clients and work hard to take care of them.
But I am not the right insurance agent for every farm or business out there.
That may sound surprising since I’m actively seeking new clients. I believe that trust and rapport are built on honesty. This starts with me being honest in what you can expect from me.
Here are FIVE things my clients can depend on when they do business with me:
I am going to ask a lot of questions.
Maybe you are used to the questions that most insurance agents ask about your current coverage and the typical information needed to obtain a proposal. I will definitely ask those questions and many more. I want to know why you do what you do. I want to know what keeps you up at night and what you consider your greatest success.
In other words I am going to probably get personal.
I consider it my job to understand what you have, what you do, what you value, who you are and what you expect. If it sounds like I want to have a relationship with you, I do. That may not be your cup of tea.
I have people tell me all the time, “Nobody has ever asked that before.”
For some, my questions may seem too personal or that I’m requesting private information. I treat everything discussed with care and confidentiality. I respect your privacy.
You may think it’s too much like small talk.
You may think it takes up too much time.
However I am still going to ask.
I am going to offer you insurance you don’t already have.
Maybe you are used to showing a copy of your current policy to an agent and when they provide a proposal it looks exactly the same as what you have. Reviewing your current insurance policies is certainly part of my process. I would, however, be falling short of my obligations as an advisor if I stopped there.
I may ask you why you don’t have those coverages (see #1 above where I ask lots of questions). I will make recommendations. They won’t be hidden in the proposal – they will be clearly marked and discussed. I offer you insurance you don’t have because you deserve to know what you don’t have.
Some of you don’t like that.
You may think that if you ask me for insurance I should only offer what you asked.
You may think whatever you have is fine like it is. You may not like being offered a lot of choices.
However I am still going to offer because I think you should at least know what is available and what it costs.
As business or farm owner you should know your options and decide based on that what is best for you.
I will often talk to you about more than insurance.
Maybe you’ve never had an insurance agent talk to you about your marketing or social media. I do not provide social media management or marketing consulting for any of my insurance clients (I have been known to do some volunteer work with organizations I support).
I will often ask questions about what you are doing to tell your story, promote your farm/business, and where/how you are selling your goods or services (see #1 where I ask a lot of questions).
I will share tips or tricks I’ve learned or mention other businesses or farms that are successful. Again this has nothing to do with insurance and everything to do with me wanting all of my clients to be successful.
I also try and help my clients connect with other people in my network to further their success (like recommending a class or expanding your network of contacts).
This may be confusing to some.
You may feel like an insurance agent should only discuss insurance.
You may not care about social media, marketing, or growing your business.
You may wonder if I am getting compensated to refer people I know to each other. I am not.
You may think I am taking up too much of your time. My promise is to always be concise and focus on delivering value to you.
However I am bound to talk about it because I am passionate about the power of digital marketing and because I have a network of experts I like to share.
I will not always be the cheapest.
Maybe you are only shopping for a new agent because you feel like you are paying too much. I understand that because I know I don’t like to overpay for things. My focus is to provide the best value for your insurance dollars since I know it is a significant expense for you. I have more than one company to offer in many cases and I will do my homework to make sure the rating is competitive.
Some of you are used to looking only at the price tag.
You may see insurance as simply a business expense. A “necessary evil”.
If price is the sole determining factor in your choice of coverage, then I am probably not the right agent for you.
However I am not offended that price is a factor that I may not be able to overcome.
I will not always be available.
Maybe you have had an insurance agent previously who didn’t return your calls or you always had to talk to their “assistant”. I do return calls and I don’t have an assistant.
However I do take vacations, have other appointments, go to visit prospects and clients at their farm or business, take classes to update my professional education, attend meetings for the various organizations where I volunteer, attend conventions occasionally, and sometimes get sick.
This means I won’t be in the office. I may not even be near a computer. I won’t be able to help you directly.
Thankfully, my office has other agents who are ready to help with emergencies. They can also provide assistance with routine items like certificates of insurance, billing questions, and change requests.
Some of you are hoping to find an agent who is available 24/7. You may prefer talking to an 1800# at 1am or chatting with a bot online at any hour. Convenient, yes, but a bit soulless.
You may need the convenience and I am not knocking that technology can make information more accessible. I utilize technology to be as accessible as I can.
However I am not going to always be as accessible as you may want. I will always make sure your needs and requests are addressed.
Do you really want me as your insurance agent?
You deserve to do business with an agent who exceeds your needs and expectations. I constantly strive to improve and am thankful for the growing group of clients who I make happy.
My clients receive more than insurance coverage.
All policies are not created equal and not all agents are either. You get more than a policy with me – you get a relationship with someone who cares about the success of your business or farm. You get someone who will educate you in what insurance you have, you don’t have, and what insurance can do for you. You also get someone who brings value beyond the insurance policy.
The choice is up to you.
P.S. One more thing – as you may notice I do not take myself very seriously. I don’t wear business suits very often. You may see me wearing leggings with neon corn cobs, assorted vegetables or even a tomato costume.
I do however take insurance seriously. If you expect your insurance agent to be stuffy and button down I am not for you.
If you don’t mind seeing an insurance agent hugging cows and making a fool of herself for a fundraiser then please follow me on social media: @inswisetracy on Instagram, Tracy Leigh Cotton on Facebook, @tracylcotton on Twitter.